Researchers in China, South Korea, and Singapore are testing the lead taken by Western countries in the field of stem cell research, the members of a UK government mission said on Monday (January 24).

Last September, the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sent a group of leading figures from the field of stem cell science on a 2-week trip to the three Asian countries to assess the quality of science being done and to evaluate possible commercial opportunities.

What they saw was impressive, the members of the mission say in a report. "Researchers in China, Singapore, and South Korea are as talented as their UK counterparts. They are probably better funded and equipped. The perspective is more long term in all three countries than the UK," they write.

"It was high-quality science," said Cathy Prescott, from Avlar Bioventures. There were clearly centers of excellence, particularly for...

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